Coming Soon: Planned US Electricity Shortages & Widespread Blackouts

Rising peak demand and the planned retirement of 83 GW of fossil fuel and nuclear generation over the next 10 years creates blackout risks for most of the United States, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation said in its annual Long-Term Reliability Assessment...

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he national power grid is increasingly unreliable, and NERC officials say it is not clear how or when the trend will be reversed. “In recent years, we’ve witnessed a decline in reliability, and the future projection does not offer a clear path to securing the reliable electricity supply that is essential for the health, safety, and prosperity of our communities,” John Moura, NERC’s director of reliability assessment and performance analysis, said in a statement.

“We are facing an absolute step change in the risk environment surrounding reliability and energy assurance,” Moura said.

Rising peak demand and the planned retirement of 83 gigawatts of fossil fuel and nuclear generation over the next 10 years creates blackout risks for most of the United States, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. said in its annual Long-Term Reliability Assessment.

While most regions should have sufficient electricity supply in normal weather, both the Northeast and Western half of the U.S. face an elevated risk of blackouts in extreme conditions. And parts of the Midwest and central South areas could see power supply shortfalls during normal peak operations.

To address the growing risk, NERC said new gas sourced generating capacity is needed, the nation’s transmission network must be expanded and grid planners must develop processes to better account for variable resources and the interconnected nature of the power and gas sectors.

NERC is a nonprofit organization that oversees the reliability and security of the North American bulk power system. It uses a results-based approach. After conducting their ten-year assessment, NERC sent a grim warning of our energy future. We face a serious electricity shortage beginning in the next few years that will exist for years to come.

This isn’t news. It has been clear for some time that the elimination of fossil fuels before there is an adequate power supply to take its place will directly endanger the safety and security of Americans. It is also obvious that this has been engineered to happen this way. The people planning a lack of supply ahead of replacement electricity sources are smart. They know what they’re doing. Their policies will destroy our national security and will endanger the lives of our people. It will also seriously damage our wealth as a nation.

They found that during peak demand, as government policies push electrification of everything, the planned retirement of 83 gigawatts of fossil fuel and nuclear generation over the next ten years creates blackout risks.

Most regions have enough electricity supply in normal weather, but in extreme conditions, when you really need the energy, there is an increased risk of blackouts. The Midwest and Central States could see power supply shortfalls during normal peak operations.

New gas capacity is needed immediately, and we’re not getting it. A spokesperson for MISO said the grid operator concurs with NERC’s key conclusions and recommendations.

NERC’s reliability assessment is “deeply troubling,” said Michelle Bloodworth, president and CEO of America’s Power, representing coal generators.

“Despite several years of warnings about the possibility of electricity shortages in many parts of the country, the risk of electricity shortages has grown worse,” she said, pointing to coal retirements, policies developed by the Environmental Protection Agenc, and “dangerous subsidies for unreliable sources of energy” as the cause.

The National Mining Association said coal retirements are “leaving grids across the country short of the fuel-secure, dispatchable generation they so desperately need.”

“Surging power demand, the rapid loss of dispatchable generating capacity, and the towering hurdles to connecting reliable alternatives and their enabling infrastructure are the on-the-ground reality that should shape our energy policy,” NMA President and CEO Rich Nolan said in a statement.

“NERC’s latest assessment paints another grim picture of our nation’s energy future as demand for electricity soars and the supply of always-available generation declines,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“Nine states saw rolling blackouts last December as the demand for electricity exceeded available supply. And proposals like the EPA’s power plant rule will greatly compound the problem,” he said. “Absent a major shift in state and federal energy policy, this is the reality we will face for years to come.”

NERC’s report noted the threat of “environmental regulations and energy policies that are overly rigid.”

Cooperative utilities echoed the concern over EPA policies. In May, the agency proposed greenhouse gas emissions limits for coal-, gas- and oil-fired power plants, with initial requirements beginning in 2030 for coal-fired generators.✪

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